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Montana FWP Looks To Purchase Forest Land Near Columbia Falls

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks logo on the side of a department truck.
Josh Burnham
Montana Public Radio

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks hopes to buy nearly 800 acres of private forest lands along the Flathead River. The agency is holding a public meeting about the project on Aug. 26.

The Bad Rock Canyon Wildlife Management Area would consist of 772 forested acres along the Flathead River just outside of Columbia Falls. FWP released a draft environmental assessment for the project earlier this month and is taking comments through Sept. 8.

The land provides important winter range for deer, elk and moose.

FWP has partnered with the Flathead Land Trust to purchase the land from the former Columbia Falls Aluminum Company. According to an FWP press release, CFAC has given the agency until the end of the year to complete the estimated $7.26 million purchase. Otherwise, the land may be sold to developers.

FWP has acquired federal Land and Water Conservation Fund money and will use funding from its Habitat Montana program. The Flathead Land Trust has also raised nearly $600,000 for the purchase.

FWP will host avirtual public information meeting on Aug. 26.

FWP also announced this week that it’s moving forward with purchasing a roughly28,000 acre conservation easement near Libby.

Aaron graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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